Grades: Durer Albrecht Durer Essay

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Albrecht Durer

Albrecht Durer was a German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since. His vast body of work includes altarpieces and religious works, numerous portraits and self-portraits, and copper engravings. His woodcuts, such as the Apocalypse series, retain a more Gothic flavor than the rest of his work. His well-known works include the Knight, Death, and the Devil, Saint Jerome in his Study and Melancholia I, which has been the subject of extensive analysis and interpretation. His watercolors mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, while his ambitious woodcuts revolutionized the potential of that medium.

Durer’s introduction of classical Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German humanists, has secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatises, which involve principles of mathematics, perspective and ideal proportions.

Durer was born on May 21 1471, third child and second son of his parents, who had between fourteen and eighteen children. His father, Albrecht Durer the Elder was a successful goldsmith, who in 1455 had moved to Nuremberg in Hungary. A door is featured in the coat-of-arms the family acquired. Albrecht Durer the Younger later changed his father's diction of the family's surname, to "Durer", to adapt to the local Nuremberg dialect. Albrecht Durer the Elder married Barbara Holper, the daughter of his master, when he himself became a master in 1467

After completing his term of apprenticeship, Durer followed the common German custom of taking in effect gap year—in which the apprentice learned skills from artists in other areas; Durer was to spend about four years away. He left in 1490, possibly to work under Martin Schongauer, the leading engraver of Northern Europe, but who died shortly before Durer’s arrival at Colmar in 1492. It is unclear where Durer travelled in the intervening period, though it is likely that he went to Frankfurt .
In early 1492 Durer travelled to Baselto stay with another brother of Martin Schongauer, the goldsmith Georg. Very soon after his return to Nuremberg, on July 7, 1494, at the age of 23, Durer was married to Agnes Frey following an arrangement made during his absence. Agnes was the daughter of a prominent brass worker in the city. However, no children resulted from the marriage and the Netherlands. In Colmar, Durer was welcomed by Schongauer's brothers, the goldsmiths Caspar and Paul and the painter Ludwig. In 1493 Durer went to Strasbourg, where he would have experienced the sculpture of